Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus

By John Theodore | Go to book overview

14
No Sentiment in Baseball

The relationship between Waitkus and his manager had fallen apart late in the 1951 season, and they hardly spoke to each other. Sawyer complained that Waitkus kept late hours and wasn't always sharp for games. Immediately after the season, Sawyer announced that Waitkus was on the trading block; “Waitkus was a high-strung, lonesome youngster who craved company, life, ” Sawyer said. “He was not strong enough to keep late hours, miss his rest and play good baseball. He is anemic, takes vitamin pills regularly. Married life should make him more content, take away the tension. And he has a splendid wife who has his welfare first in her mind. ”

After the disastrous 1951 season, Bob Carpenter and Eddie Sawyer ran the 1952 Phillies with iron fists. They initiated an “austerity” program, which began well before spring training. When contracts were mailed out in early January, most players received healthy pay cuts ranging from 20 to 25 percent. And the austerity continued at spring training. Wives were not allowed, and all players were ordered to stay at Clearwater's Fort Harrison Hotel. There was no golf, no tennis, no swimming. Even cars were prohibited. And when Willie Jones missed a curfew, he was fined $300. “Don't you think it's time someone got tough with this team, ” Sawyer said. Several players objected to the new rules and reported late to camp, but Sawyer didn't care. He continued to distance himself from the players throughout the spring. If anyone had a gripe, Sawyer ordered, he was to talk to coach Cy Perkins, and Perkins would relay the message to the skipper.

In spring 1952, Waitkus found himself sharing first base with Nippy Jones, an injured utility infielder the Phillies had bought from the Cardinals organization for $10,000. Jones, who was recovering from back sur

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Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction xxiii
  • Major League Career Statistics for Eddie Waitkus xxv
  • Baseball's Natural *
  • 1 - Room 1297 A 1
  • 2 - Building a Dream 6
  • 3 - A Sealed Fate 12
  • 4 - A Swift Judgement Day 16
  • 5 - East Cambridge and Beyond 20
  • 6 - Chicago to Philadelphia 31
  • 7 - Baseball Annies 41
  • 8 - Clearwater Beach 47
  • 9 - Comeback 55
  • 10 - Kankakee State Hospital 61
  • 11 - All the Game's Wild Glory 66
  • 12 - Hero's Journey 83
  • 13 - In the Shadows 89
  • 14 - No Sentiment in Baseball 95
  • 15 - A Quiet Existence 105
  • 16 - Hidden Enemy 115
  • 17 - The Pleasure of Your Own 122
  • 18 - Lost Hero 131
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